There is an extraordinary young man, Alex Lowery, who has Autism and speaks, blogs, and is an author on the topic of his Autism.
On his blog, Mr. Lowery published a blog post entitled “10 things you should never say to NTs describing things he has said and how he learned that his direct answers were not always well-received.
NTs can sometimes used to describe people who are “neuro-typical” and do not have the neurological array of Autism (or other neurological differences).
I read the list of 10 things to the Navigator and asked him why he thought they should not be said.
Below are his answers.
1. Look just because your rabbit has just died. It doesn’t make her the best rabbit in the world. Everyone thinks that about their pet.
This is not a nice thing to say because they are feeling bad, and saying this will make them feel really bad.
2. That new haircut doesn’t suit you.
This is not a nice thing to say because hair cuts cost money.
3. That DVD I got you was bought for my brother but he didn’t want it.
I don’t know.
4. Just think you are nearer 50 than 40 now.
This is not a nice thing to say because this is an insult about age.
5. You’re starting to get a lot of grey hairs lately.
This is another insult of age.
6. I hate the way you’ve dyed your hair.
This is not nice because dye costs a lot of money.
7. You’ve put on a lot of weight recently.
That’s just plain rude.
8. Wow! You’ve got a lot of Acne!
That’s even worse than rude.
9. I didn’t like the present you got me at all!
This is not nice because it is disappointing to the person who got the present. Especially if the present cost a lot of money, like a car.
10. I can see that you’re starting to get wrinkles.
This is another insult to age.
Apparently, in working on social skills, we have emphasized cost consciousness and avoiding ageism, and we need to work on messaging around re-gifting.
For more information on Mr. Lowery, please visit his website here.
Also published on Medium.